LONDON — Novak Djokovic’s large lead in the rollicking Wimbledon final was slipping away, due in no small part to Roger Federer’s regal presence and resurgent play.
No man has won tennis’ oldest major tournament more often than Federer, and he was not about to let it go easily. Djokovic went from being a point from victory in the fourth set to suddenly caught in the crucible of a fifth, and he knew all too well that he had come up short in recent Grand Slam title matches.
Steeling himself when he so desperately needed to, Serbia’s Djokovic held on for a 6-7 (7), 6-4, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-4 victory after nearly four hours of momentum shifts Sunday to win Wimbledon for the second time — and deny Switzerland’s Federer what would have been a record eighth championship at the All England Club.
“I could have easily lost my concentration in the fifth and just handed him the win. But I didn’t, and that’s why this win has a special importance to me, mentally,” Djokovic said. “I managed to not just win against my opponent, but win against myself, as well, and find that inner strength.”
The men’s final was quite a contrast to Saturday’s women’s championship.
In one of the most dominant performances in a women’s final at Wimbledon, sixth-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic overpowered and overwhelmed 13th-seeded Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-3, 6-0 in only 55 minutes to add to her 2011 title at the grass-court Grand Slam.
“I know,” Kvitova said, “this is the best tournament for me.”
Absolutely true. Her career record of 26-5 at Wimbledon translates to an .839 winning percentage, compared to her marks of .667 at the three other majors and .681 at all other events.
Cradling his trophy during the post-match ceremony, Djokovic addressed Federer directly, saying: “I respect your career and everything you have done. And thank you for letting me win today.”